A new anti-repression conference organised by Edinburgh in Protest, in collaboration with Spanish Workers in Edinburgh, is taking place on the 19th and 20th of March in Edinburgh. The weekend’s programme includes documentaries, talks, debates and concerts. The aim of this event is to create a space for reflection and an open discussion on institutional and police violence.
The event will shed some light on recent cases of institutional violence that have occurred in Spain and Scotland. These crimes, according to the conference organisers, are often brushed under the carpet or overlooked. all the events in the conference are free, except for the concert. Part of the money raised at the concert will be sent to the family of Sheku Bayoh, a recent victim of institutional repression in Scotland.
Debates, documentaries and talks
The opening of the conference will be held at the Old College on Saturday the 19th of March, with a special guest appearance from Ester Quintana. Ester’s life took an unexpected turn on November the 14th, back in 2012. After participating in a demonstration, a rubber bullet shot by a member of the Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan police force), hit Ester in the face. The bullet caused her multiple injuries, including losing the use of one of her eyes. Ester will tell her story and share the controversial process she was put through in the aftermath of sustaining these injuries.
Ester’s case opened up a debate on weapons and protocols within the police force of Catalonia – a topic that has been successfully avoided for many years. Rubber bullets have caused the loss of thirty eyes and cost nine lives in Spain alone, according to the association Stop Bales de Goma. The debate resulted in the resignation of important figures working for the authorities, and eventually the use of rubber bullets was banned in 2014.
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After Ester’s talk, the documentary A tu que et sembla? will be shown for the first time outside of Spain. Pau Poch and Teresa Manubens, creators of the documentary, explained to us: “Ester realised that if she didn’t speak out, her case would be forgotten alongside all the other discarded events of the past”. The Case of Ester Quintana has been used repeatedly in Amnesty International reports to aid accusations of many Spanish State of Human Rights violations.
There will also be a talk about events that occurred on the 21st of September 2011, in Bilbao. Riots broke out when local police joined forces with the Ertzaintza (Basque Country Police) to carry out an eviction order and then demolish Kukutza Gaztetxea, a much loved youth club in Bilbao. Clashes with police lasted three days, during which 64 people were arrested, 76 injured and 53 counts of brutality were filed against the police. Most of the cases of brutality involving the Ertzaintza were dropped due to the “lack of identification of the officers involved”, whereas those taken to court for defending the Kukutza were prosecuted.
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There will a question and answer section of the talk, and plenty of time for debating this highly important but often neglected topic. All talks and videos will be available in both Spanish and English.
The conference will end with a solo concert by Skalariak´s former singer, Juantxo Skalari. Matatunes, New Urban Frontier and Zalu will also perform. Other than the concert on Sunday, all events at the conference are free. Part of the money raised at the concert will be sent to the family of Sheku Bayoh, a recent victim of institutional repression in Scotland. Concert tickets can be purchased in advance from Bannermans. Advance tickets are £6 and some will be available on the door for £8.
Event: Anti-repression Forum
Place: : Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh
Day: Saturday, 19 March
Time: 12:00 – 17:00
Event: Solidarity Gig
Place: Bannermans Bar – 212 Cowgate, Edinburgh
Day: Sunday, 20 March
Time: 7pm Juantxo Skalari (unplugged) / 8pm The Matatunes / 9pm New Urban Frontier/ 10pm Zalu (las puertas se abren a las 18 horas)
Tickets: £6 (advanced tickets in Bannermans) / £8 (door)